Any parent with a preschooler knows that teaching the little niceties of social interaction can be a challenge. Children want to be sweet, they just do not always know how and remembering manners in the middle of playtime can be tough.
Caring Corners has introduced Mrs. Goodbee, an interactive talking doll house, as a fun, interactive teaching tool that emphasizes good behavior in a positive, age-appropriate way.
First, and most importantly, my two year old daughter adores this toy. We put the doll house in her room and it is the only toy that has managed to snag us a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning. While we rest, we hear her narrating along with Mrs. Goodbee, “Flush the toilet then wash your hands…rock the baby when baby cries…”
Even without the accessory packs there is so much to occupy tiny hands in this house. Even my mother enjoys playing with Mrs. Goodbee. There are times we literally have to drag my daughter away from this house to get her to come downstairs to eat. In addition to the programed responses that encourage good manners, there is plenty of room for open ended play and child-created narratives with Mrs. Goodbee.
In the face of positive values, my toddler’s enjoyment, and shut-eye, any concerns I have about the toy are minor quibbles. I generally prefer wood to plastic, but Mrs. Goodbee is not the first exception I have made nor will she be the last and I’m confident in Learning Curve’s safety precautions.
More of a concern is that Mrs. Goodbee’s world is the suburbs circa 1950s–Dad is the only male presence (there is a grandma, but no grandpa, and little girls, but no little boys) and he comes with either an easy chair and television or a tool belt. However, this is easily remedied: there is no reason why Mom can’t wear the tool belt or we can pretend, as in our family, that the guy with the toolbelt is grandpa or the general contractor. And while I wish there were more dolls of color (there is one little girl available who has darker skin) and some little boy dolls available currently, I suspect there will be eventually.
These omissions aside, Mrs. Goodbee is a welcome addition to our home, especially when my toddler spontaneously says “thank you” and reminds us to “let your feelings show.” Mrs. Goodbee also promotes sharing in a very concrete way for preschoolers. The tri-fold design allows two children plenty of space to play together.
All cynicism melts away when you ring the doorbell, Mrs. Goodbee’s shuttered eyes fly open, your child smiles, and you are welcomed into a world of caring and sharing.
Special Note: Courtesy of Caring Corners, we will be gifting a Mrs. Goodbee this November to a child who does not have many playthings. We’ll be sharing the story then.